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Required Reading

December 30th, 2003 - 1:11 am

In today’s New York Times, David Brooks writes about the fluidity of the American religious experience:

George W. Bush was born into an Episcopal family and raised as a Presbyterian, but he is now a Methodist. Howard Dean was baptized Catholic, and raised as an Episcopalian. He left the church after it opposed a bike trail he was championing, and now he is a Congregationalist, though his kids consider themselves Jewish.

Wesley Clark’s father was Jewish. As a boy he was Methodist, then decided to become a Baptist. In adulthood he converted to Catholicism, but he recently told Beliefnet .com, “I’m a Catholic, but I go to a Presbyterian church.”

What other country on earth would have three national political figures with such peripatetic religious backgrounds?

As always with Required Reading, you have to go read the whole thing. Maybe I just found Brooks’s piece interesting because while I’m fascinated by religion, I don’t have one — so I can take a more dispassionate view.

But I’d like to hear back from those of you who do have a dog in this fight, on whichever side.

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